Category Archives: Video Games

Community Outreach – Alex “Flyingdebris” Iglesias

This week on Community Outreach, we talk to one of the talented artists bringing BattleTech into the modern era: Alex Iglesias. Most notably the artist to create the designs featured in MechWarrior Online, we ask him what brought him to BattleTech, his inspirations, and how he goes about reinventing these classic images. Enjoy!

Sean (Sarna): Hi Alex! First off, thanks so much for agreeing to do an interview. To start, who are you? Briefly introduce yourself.

Alex: My name is Alex Iglesias, I’m 32 years old, and have been a ‘Mech fan for a significant portion of that length of time.  

Sean: When did you get into BattleTech?

Alex: Sometime between ’93-96.  Depending on whether you’d consider the cartoon, the Sega game, MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries, or the novels as officially “in.”

Sean: What BattleTech games have you played?

Alex: Sega Battletech Game, MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries, the Battletech CCG, MechWarrior 3, MechCommander, Virtual World Pods, Firestorm Pods, MechWarrior 4: Vengeance/Black Knight/Mercenaries, MechWarrior: Living Legends, MechWarrior Online, and Tabletop.

Sean: Your work in MechWarrior Online is pretty well known, but is there any other BattleTech products your art is featured in?

Alex: Creating art for the Tabletop books, doing some HUD design for MechWarrior: Living Legends, and I suppose the MWO designs carrying over to HBS’s Battletech game.

Sean: What’s your favourite ‘Mech?

Alex:  Don’t have an all-around favorite, more like situational favorites.  Urbies and Atlases (Atlii?) for humor, Crab and King Crab for looks, JagerMechs for dakka, and TSM equipped Berserkers because briefcases of doom are fun.

Sean: Was/is there any BattleTech artist you find particularly inspirational?

Alex: All of them to varying degrees, but especially Loose. He was probably my first exposure to BT art. The first fan art I started making back in the day was based off of his art.

Sean: What’re you doing right now?  I mean, in terms of your work.

Alex:  Working on MWO and MechWarrior 5 stuff.

Sean: I’m thinking I probably already know the answer to this, but could you tell us what stuff?

Alex: Sorry, can’t announce the specifics of what I’m currently working on. Suffice to say that it primarily involves ‘Mechs.

Sean: What’s your design philosophy when you recreate these iconic ‘Mechs?

Image courtesy of MechWarrior Online

Alex:  Depends on a few factors. In general, I do like to try to incorporate design elements of modern military vehicle systems, and mix it with a little bit of ‘rule of cool’. In the case of designs for MechWarrior Online, I try to factor in gameplay aspects of ‘Mech bodyplans and balance that against preserving the aesthetics that make it recognizable as a particular ‘Mech.

Sean: Let’s talk MechWarrior Online specifics. What was your favorite ‘Mech to design?

Alex: Probably still the King Crab.

Sean: Why was the King Crab your favorite?

Alex: King Crab just has a very unique body layout that was a lot of fun to draw, I am a fan of ballistic weapons like AC/20s, and I also like the claws.

Sean: Which ‘Mech was the hardest to redesign?

Alex: Hard to say, but probably the Mauler. Trying to figure out how to get those LRM shoulders to not be bullet magnets, but still look like a proper mauler was a real pain.

Sean: Which one was the easiest?

Alex: Not sure, none seemed so easy that it stands out in my memory.

Sean: What ‘Mech do you really want to redesign for MechWarrior Online?

Alex:  I would love to do some of the crazy loadout outlier mechs, like the Kraken or Piranha, or some of the really crazy looking ‘Mechs aesthetics-wise like the Blood Kite or Hoplite.

Sean: I would love to see you do up a Kraken. Alright, let’s take an example to see what your redesign process looks like. I’m currently a huge fan of the Wolfhound. How’d you go about redesigning that ‘Mech?

Alex: Typically, I grab as much existing art of the Wolfhound as I can, and sort of start trying to identify the design elements that make it visually distinct. In the case of the Wolfhound, you have the obviously canine inspired cockpit, a very polygonal laser encrusted torso, and a few other small elements in terms of armor panels and certain shapes throughout the body. I then start sketching a sort of blobby black-and-white silhouette that I try to get into a rough approximation of the body plan in order to start experimenting. I’ll then proceed to mess with and tweak the design for a long while, then proceed to start cleaning it up and increasing level of detail, though I’ll likely still keep experimenting well into this stage.  Once everything is nice and clean in gray scale, I’ll start working on the lighting, color, weathering, paint-jobs, and such.

Image courtesy of MechWarrior Online

Sean: Were their any ‘Mechs you were asked to redesign, but had so little imagery it was hard to get a feel for? Any ‘Mech that made you initially say, “Well, what do I do here?”

Alex: Not really, as there would almost invariably be a mini of it, and potentially some old CCG art of it.

Sean: Did it ever feel a little sacrilegious to add hips to ‘Mechs that never had them? Like the Nova, Viper, or Locust?

Alex: At first it kind of did, as there is some difficulty in preserving recognition of a certain chassis when giving a ‘Mech with no hips a pelvis, and for these ‘Mechs, no hips were very much a part of what made them standout. However, I never much thought that lack of hips made much sense.  Seems like it would make for a very bumpy and clumsy ride.

Sean: Yeah, I never understood how they could move at all. So, when you finally got the green light to redesign the Unseen ‘Mechs, how’d that feel?

Alex: Like Christmas.

Sean: For the Unseen ‘Mechs, there were usually 2 very different sets of images to choose from when redesigning. On some, like the Shadowhawk, it seems very true to the original. For others, like the Marauder, it seems more heavily influenced by the Unseen version. What made you go one way or the other with these ‘Mechs?

Alex: Mix of reasons. In the case of the Marauder, it’s factors like the original’s dorsal AC/5 actually being mounted in the side torso according to the stats, needing a more animation friendly pelvis and leg structure, some elements of personal taste, and other stuff along those lines.

 Sean: Anything else you’d like to share? Feel free to get shamelessly self-promoty.

Alex: I can be reached pretty easily on twitter @Flyingdebrisguy, I try to respond if I can and love to talk about ‘Mech stuff with people. Sometimes I post doodles. Also check out White Dragon Miniatures, they’ve got a 3D printed mini version of my old Fiddler ‘Mech design in their game.

Sean: Well, that’s all I had. Thanks again for doing this interview, I really appreciate it.

Alex: No problem! I look forward to seeing it.

Community Outreach – MRBC’s Doyle

Welcome to Community Outreach, where we here at Sarna reach out to learn more about other BattleTech communities and the people that shape them. This week we interview Doyle, the founder of the Mercenary Review and Bonding Commission (MRBC) league for MechWarrior Online. Enjoy!

Sean (Sarna): So, to start off, how about we begin with “who are you?” Briefly introduce yourself.

Doyle: I’m Matt Doyle. I’ve been playing MechWarrior pretty much since the start, competitively since the start. I’ve been involved in top-level European competitive teams since very, very early on. Ex-SJR [ed. Steel Jaguar], we broke away to form our own unit, which its current iteration is 9th Sanguine Tigers, and of course, I’m the founder of MRBC League.

Sean: What is the MRBC?

Doyle: Well, I would say it’s the most accessible and biggest, player-run competition these days in MechWarrior Online. We’ve been around a long time, so I guess we’re now the longest running as well. And yeah, it works as a league, hence the name MRBC League. It’s accessible to teams of all levels from the very bottom right to the very top. You can always enter at the bottom division and have fun, just as you can be a top-level team fighting it out for the title of Division A as well.

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MechWarrior Online Skill Tree Implementation Indefinitely Delayed

In an announcement on twitter as well as the MechWarrior Online forums yesterday, Piranha Games Inc. President Russ Bullock announced that the implementation of the planned Skill Tree Enhancement will be delayed as the game’s designers continue to develop and refine the Skill Tree.  

The overhauled skill system has been a contentious issue for the MechWarrior Online Community. The stated goal of PGI was to enhance the player experience by allowing the player to customize their mech’s performance to fit their goals, while also promoting a ‘Mech build diversity in the game. Additionally, the skill system had the long term goal of phasing out the “quirk” system, often criticized for adding a layer of obfuscation to ‘Mech performance that is difficult for new players to understand.

However, many players felt the Skill Tree enhancement were an attempt by PGI to roll back pilot progress and introduce a pay-wall for veteran players in order to regain their standing. This was considered especially galling, as some players have spent thousands of dollars on MechWarrior Online already. The player backlash was mounting, resulting in some pretty intense YouTube and twitter rants.

With yesterday’s posting, PGI has told players that they recognize the deficiencies of the proposed Skill Tree build, and will be taking into account player concerns regarding lost progress and pay-walling. With no updated release date provided, the intent is clear that PGI will go back to the drawing board in order to correct these shortcomings. Hopefully this marks a turn in the conversation, one which MechWarrior Online players will be quite happy to hear.

BattleTech Backer Beta Delayed

 

In sad news, Harebrained Schemes have announced the planned Kickstarter Backer Beta will not be available on their target date of March 15. In an update on the BattleTech Kickstarter page, senior producer Chris Klimecky reported that planned upgrades to the game’s engine as well as development infrastructure went a little off the rails, necessitating the game’s delay while HBS worked out the bugs. However, Chris also wrote that they’re back on track, and working diligently to meet a revised release date of Late Summer/Early Fall.

While certainly unfortunate, the update shows Harebrained Scheme’s commitment to transparency and open communication with a community that is waiting eagerly to get their hands on a hotly anticipated title. Waiting a few extra months is a small price to pay for a polished and bug-free game.

For the full release, check out the Harebrained Schemes Kickstarter page here.

Someone did the math on how many ‘Mechs you kill in MechWarrior 3

MechWarrior 3 is somewhat unique in MechWarrior series. Whereas in every other game each engagement is a single battle where the player may kill a half-dozen enemy ‘Mechs and then move on, MechWarrior 3 is essentially one long guerrilla operation. In other games, when it’s all said and done you fly away in your dropship, sipping space martinis and laughing merrily at all the whacky robot hijinks you got up to. In MechWarrior 3 you don’t have that luxury – you’re stuck dirtside, on the run, fighting to survive wave after wave of Smoke Jaguar warriors.

So how many ‘Mechs did you bust on Tranquil? Reddit user hydra337 has helpfully done the math.

Short answer: it’s a lot.

Long answer, you destroy 168 points worth of ‘Mechs, Elementals, tanks, and VTOL’s, or roughly an entire clan Galaxy.

This has some interesting implications for the sneak attack on Huntress as well as Operation Bulldog. As hydra377 puts it:

“The Smoke Jaguar forces that did go to Huntress were enough to overcome Serpent, but not enough to eradicate them wholesale before Bulldog arrives. If that returning homeworld force had an extra Galaxy however [like the one you destroy in MechWarrior 3], Clan Smoke Jaguar may have been able to destroy Task Force Serpent, regroup, and be much more prepared for the Huntress assault of Bulldog.”

Trial Under Fire, the book based off of MechWarrior 3, is considered the canonical version of events, and in that story Clan Wolf actually does most of the destruction for you. But in our hearts we all know who the real hero of the story is.

With much thanks to hydra337 for agreeing to let me post his work!

A chat with MechWarrior Online Champs: Empyreal’s prtNspz – Full Interview

As reported in our last article, MWO World Championship  tournament wrapped up last year to much fan fair at MechCon 2016. The team crowned best in the world was Empyreal, taking the championship with a stunning 81-0 record. We sat down to speak with one of the players of Empyreal, Nik “prtn_spz”, to learn about his journey from the cold wilds of St Petersburg Russia to the slightly less cold winner’s circle at MechCon in Vancouver Canada.

(Sarna) Sean: How about to start off we get a little about yourself? So who are you?

prtn_spz: Well, my real name is Nikita, or in short is Nik. I’m living in St. Petersburg. And yes, I’m a BattleTech fan. Been playing BattleTech games a lot and been reading books as well. So that’s how I came to MechWarrior Online. And, yeah, I set up with this game and met lots of friends, and that’s how I practice my English. It’s not perfect though, unfortunately.

Sean: It’s pretty good to me.

prtn_spz: Well, that’s good to hear.

Sean: So because it’s sarna.net we’re all giant BattleTech fans.  What else besides MechWarrior Online have you played in the past?

prtn_spz: I played MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries as well as MechWarrior 3. I also used to play MechCommander, not for so long. So my main games were MechWarrior 4 and 3. I played MechWarrior 4 the most.

Sean: How’d you come up with the name “Proton”? Or the shortened form that I tried to track you down with, prtN_spz?

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Unstoppable: A chat with MechWarrior Online Champs, Empyreal’s prtNspz

In researching last week’s article on MechWarrior Online’s competitive leagues, I made an astounding discovery; reigning World champs Empyreal had a completely perfect record during their championship run. What made them an unstoppable force? To find out I reached out to Empyreal, and was able to sit down and talk to one of their players, Nik “prtNspz”, to get his epic journey to the winner’s podium.

The first thing you notice when you talk to Nik is he’s a pretty humble guy. When I brought up Empyreal’s record, he never let it seem like any match was anything but a hard-fought win. “There was always a challenge for me because it’s my first World Championship,” says prtN, who lets me know is short for “Proton”.

Despite the challenge, he certainly made it look easy, and I let him know. “I would say it’s not really, because we spend a lot of time practicing, and we got rewarded for that.”

We spend a lot of time practicing, and we got rewarded for that.

How much practice did it take for a perfect record? “We were practicing almost every day. And the only problem there for me is I am Russian, and the practices were in the early morning for me, like 5:00 or 6:00 a.m.” I know for me getting up that early would take some serious dedication.

It wasn’t all just practice. Knowledge of the tournament and which maps to focus on helped too. As Proton tells it, “We had a look at which maps are gonna be picked according to the [tournament] rules.” Each team captain would have the option to ban certain maps, and most teams eliminated maps that had balance issues leaving just a few options. “Tourmaline that is left, Canyon Network that is left, and, like HPG. So we [practice] those maps.” Although not quite to the exclusion of all others. “Of course we practiced the other maps just in case if something happens.”

That preparedness paid off. Undefeated in both the qualifying rounds and the regional finals, Proton was flown along with other members of Empyreal to MechCon in Vancouver to compete for the grand championship. The finals would pit Empyreal against the other regional winners, EON Synergy and the 228th Wild Ones.

Even with all their preparation, Nik knew they were in for a fight. “The best unit in the European region is EON Synergy. I know those guys. I know how they played […], and they literally had the same skill level as us.”

The final matches followed the qualifiers, with win after win going to Empyreal. Then, a surprise move from EON put victory in jeopardy. “EON just went all-in. They just rushed us, but we practiced”, and because of that practice they were prepared.

Instantly meeting their thrust, Empyreal arranged their lances atop Canyon Network’s rocky escarpments, giving each ‘Mech the perfect sight lines to reign fiery death on their attackers. “And after we killed the last ‘Mech I personally, I just, like, couldn’t believe that everything is over.” Empyreal accepted their accolades to screaming MechCon fans.

And after we killed the last ‘Mech I personally, I just, like, couldn’t believe that everything is over.

And for new players? Proton has some good advice. “You can’t just install the game and be good,” he explains, ”because MechWarrior Online is something different. It’s not just an FPS shooter. You need to be patient, you need to learn because the game has a long learning curve.”

Perhaps foretelling my own gameplay he adds, “You’re making mistakes, you learn from them because that’s how I learned. Even though I’m not considering myself as a professional player.”

I pointed out his World Champ’s medal, but he just scoffs. Like I said, Nik’s a humble guy.

You can read the whole interview with prtNspz here. You can watch prtNspz play and get helpful tips on his Twitch stream.

Meet the competitive leagues of MechWarrior Online

MechWarrior Online has been the pinnacle of simulated ‘Mech combat since its closed beta in 2012, and as a PvP game, competitive leagues have surrounded the game since its inception. Now, nearly half a decade later, the competitive scene for MWO is as vibrant and alive as ever, with the best MechWarriors duking it out for fame, glory, and honor. But it’s also grown significantly and knowing where or how to get involved can be daunting. Strap on your neurohelmet while we take a tour of MechWarrior Online’s competitive leagues.

The big kahuna is the one sponsored by the game’s developers, Piranha games. With 2016’s first place team taking home over $86,000.00, the World Championship draws ‘Mech teams from across the globe to compete for real cash. The previous year’s championship saw teams separated by region (North America, Europe, Asia/Pacific) compete in a round-robin qualifier held throughout the year. The top 5 teams from each region then went on to the regional finals, with the winner of each region being flown to Vancouver to take part in the final matches held live at MechCon.  

For those familiar with MechWarrior Online’s 12v12 format, the tournament rules were a little different. Instead, matches were 8v8, and followed a strict format: 2 light ‘Mechs, 2 mediums, 2 heavies, and 2 assaults. Each match was held on a capture-the-point style Conquest map, with league enrolled teams voting on which maps would be used to compete. Unlike other leagues, which use the player’s own in-game resources, the World Championship gave each team access to every ‘Mech and weapon system available in the game to ensure player parity. With its emphasis on strict competition, the World Championship brought out the best the world had to offer. So far PGI has been mum on the possibility of a 2017 Championship, but with the success of the 2016 tournament there’s hope an official announcement is just around the corner.

While it doesn’t have the formal backing of the game’s designers, the MRBC takes the title of largest league in MechWarrior Online with over 180 registered teams. Founded in 2014, the league seeks to give players a fun competitive experience at a variety of skill levels. Much like the World Championships, the league is broken down by region (North America, Europe, Asia/Pacific), and each region is broken down into divisions defined by player skill level. Teams compete in a double round-robin format, and at the end of each season the top team from each division is bumped up to a senior division, while the last place team gets relegated to a lower division. Victories are scored not simply through winning a match, but also through a reward system that gives teams reputation points for certain actions during a match (like destroying a number of the opposing ‘Mechs). Although the MRBC is not officially supported by PGI, they have historically received in game currency that is awarded to the winners of each division.

In addition to ensuring participants have fun by competing against players of similar skill level, the MRBC also tries to add variety to their games. Each match is a series of games on different maps, 8v8, with an assortment of light, medium, heavy and assault weight classes. In order to achieve player parity, only ‘Mechs available for purchase with in-game currency are allowed (Hero ‘Mechs, those only available for purchase with ‘Mech Credits, MWO’s real world currency, are not legal). Teams are also only allowed to bring one duplicate chassis per match, meaning if one player brings a Timberwolf (regardless of variant) only one other player on the team is allowed to bring another Timberwolf, and all remaining ‘Mech choices must be the sole example of the chassis on the team. With these quirks, the MRBC emphasizes diversity and enjoyment over strict competition, explaining both its longevity and enormous following.

Run by the same people who run the MRBC and begun in 2016, MechWarrior Arena is a 1v1 competitive league that seeks to emulate the gladiatorial ‘Mech combat of Solaris VII. MWA follows a tiered division structure similar to the MRBC that matches players in the same region and the same skill level. Unlike Solaris VII, which broke down its tournaments by the usual ‘Mech classes of light, medium, heavy and assault, MWA breaks it down into 10 ton increments (a 20 ton Locust will fight a 25 ton Commando, but never fight a 35 ton Jenner). More in keeping with Solaris VII (and differing from the MRBC), players are allowed to bring highly customized Hero versions of ‘Mechs to combat. Winners of each division are also awarded in game prizes generously donated by PGI.

There are however some restrictions found in MWA owing to its 1v1 nature. First, streak missiles are not allowed as their presence tends to warp the format and also remove skill from determining the winner of a match. Flamers are also limited to two per ‘Mech so as to prevent each match from turning into a dance of pyromaniacs. Finally, certain ‘Mechs can be upgraded or downgraded a weight class due to their intrinsic performance (such as the Ice Ferret, which competes at the 50-55 ton level) or outright banned if they completely dominate a weight class. As with the MRBC, the emphasis is on variety of gameplay and fun.

Perhaps the oldest of MechWarrior Online’s unofficial leagues, Run Hot or Die began in the days of MechWarrior’s closed beta. For several years, RHoD was the premiere MWO competitive league covering North America and Europe, however saw its popularity wane in 2016 with the rise of the MRBC. The league returns with a fresh new format that will bring even more variety to the competitive scene.

RHoD is a single-day, Swiss Pairing, single elimination, bracket style tournament that pits warriors in 4v4 lance combat. Each match is a best of seven rounds, with each round having either a weight limit or a class restriction for the 4 ‘Mechs each team drops with (for example, one round may allow 200 tons of ‘Mechs, but another round will require each team bring one light ‘Mech, 2 mediums, and 1 heavy). Teams are also limited to 2 chassis per match, meaning if during one round a team brings two Stormcrows, they are unable to use any Stormcrows for the rest of the match. There’s no limitation on which ‘Mechs can be brought except they must be available for purchase either with in game currency or real currency (eliminating ‘Mechs that are only available via pre-order). There are also no restrictions on weaponry, giving RHoD players a wide array of options they can bring to each lance vs lance encounter.

Competitive play in MWO isn’t limited to leagues. Smaller, for fun tournaments are held all the time, and are advertised on the MWO forums and community page. Many have a charity focus, such as the MercStar Invitiational, which pits players in simulated ‘Mech combat to support the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. There’s even a recently released Stock Class tournament that forces players into non customized versions of their favorite ‘Mechs, eliminating the need for costly upgrades in order to compete. No matter what your skill level or resources, there’s a place for every player in MechWarrior Online’s competitive scene.

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries

Hot on the heels of Harebrained Scheme’s tactical RPG BattleTech comes Piranha Games with MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries. Best known for their development of MechWarrior Online, Piranha is taking a departure from its free2play, multiplayer business model and betting big on a single-player, blockbuster release. Announced at MechCon 2016, many aspects of the game are still well under development, but we take a look at what we do know about this sure to be hotly anticipated title.

MechWarrior 5 will take place in the year 3015, during the Third Succession War. The player starts out as a rookie MechWarrior working for a down-and-out mercenary company that over the course of your career grows into an elite fighting force, taking the most difficult contracts for the Inner Sphere’s great houses. The game then takes players through the Fourth Succession War, and leads right up to the Clan Invasion of 3049. This gives players a fantastic slice of BattleTech history to experience while also leaving the door wide open for a Clan focused sequel.

image courtesy of Piranha Games

Fans of previous installments of MechWarrior: Mercenaries know that while a story-driven campaign is nice, for a true merc it’s all about the loot. Russ Bullock, founder and president of Piranha Games, reveals in an interview with PC Gamer that MechWarrior 5 will feature a dynamic salvage system which will allow skilled pilots to carefully dismantle their enemies for extra weapons and components at the end of a contract. Expert pilots can even snipe the opponent’s cockpit, not only killing the pilot but also leaving the disabled ‘Mech as extra bounty. This sort of system has always been promised in earlier MechWarrior titles, but never quite fully delivered, and it’s our hope that Piranha nails this essential aspect of Mercenary life.


image courtesy of Piranha Games

The managerial experience doesn’t stop at hunting for salvage. MechWarrior 5 will be as much business simulator as ‘Mech combat simulator. As Russ Bullock tells PC Gamer, “Our goal is to create a very in-depth manager experience. It’s sort of like taking […] Football Manager wrapped over top of MechWarrior 1.”

Repairs, hiring pilots, and travel costs to and from contracts will all need to be factored into what contracts you take and which you pass by. Everything will have to be viewed through the lens of risk versus reward; do you take the risky contract with generous salvage conditions, or do you play it safe and take an easier contract in the hopes of saving up enough c-bills to purchase new ‘Mechs on the open market? As Russ explains to PC Gamer, “I think 95 percent of MechWarrior players will never have had this much freedom when it comes to where and who they fight for.”


image courtesy of Piranha Games

What ‘Mechs will be available so far remains a mystery. MechWarrior 5’s trailer shows a Shadow Hawk and a Raven, but beyond that we can only speculate. We can however surmise that it is likely Piranha will port over existing ‘Mechs from its roster in MechWarrior Online, as the similarities between the Shadow Hawk and Raven models would seem to indicate. Also reported in the PC Gamer article are possible limitations on how ‘Mechs can be customized. Bullock explains that, “while no final decision has been made, MechWarrior 5 is looking to focus more on a ‘variant-based free market system’ that guides how ‘Mechs are outfitted,” giving each chassis a feeling of uniqueness that can be lacking somewhat in the cookie-cutter builds seen in MechWarrior Online. There will however be multiple variants available of each ‘Mech, likely similar to if not exactly as described in the BattleTech technical readouts. While not providing the “anything goes” customization of previous MechWarrior titles, this will still provide players with flexibility in their loadouts while also preserving the essential individuality of each design.


image courtesy of Piranha Games

One thing that is certain to be unchanged from MechWarrior Online is the action.  “We don’t want to reinvent the wheel in certain areas,” says Bullock to PC Gamer. “If there’s one thing that almost everybody would agree on in our community is that one of the strongest elements of MechWarrior Online is the ‘Mech combat. It’s tight, it’s exciting.” However, MechWarrior Online has only ever held a small portion of BattleTech fans. Even Russ himself agrees that, “MechWarrior Online was, at most, half of the MechWarrior market. There’s a huge portion out there that’s just waiting for a singleplayer experience.” With a tentative release set for some time in 2018, avid fans will have to be patient while Piranha develops a game that returns us to MechWarrior’s roots. So far it looks like it’ll be worth the wait.

For more of Russ Bullock’s interview with PC Gamer, you can check out the article here.

Mechs in upcoming BattleTech Game from Harebrained Schemes

BattleTech, the upcoming turn-based ‘Mech combat game to be released by indie developer Harebrained Schemes, is shaping up extremely well. After a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign and a seemingly breakneck development cycle, we’ve been treated to incredible in-game footage showing our favourite giant robots engaging in glorious combat with laser, PPC, and even fists. From these brief glimpses (and very helpful forum posts directly from the developers) we have a list of ‘Mechs known to grace the battlefields of the future. Now, in weight order, your ‘Mech list.


image courtesy of Harebrained Schemes

LIGHT

Locust
Commando
Spider
Firestarter
Jenner
Panther
Urbanmech
Raven

MEDIUM

Cicada
Blackjack
Vindicator
Centurion
Enforcer
Hunchback
Trebuchet
Griffin
Kintaro
Shadowhawk
Wolverine

HEAVY

Dragon
Quickdraw
Catapult
Jagermech
Thunderbolt
Grasshopper
Orion
Marauder
Warhammer
Cataphract

ASSAULT

Awesome
Victor
Zeus
BattleMaster
Stalker
Highlander
Banshee
King Crab
Atlas

There is a lot to be excited about in this list, not the least of which is the inclusion of several of the most popular Unseen ‘Mechs that are rare to find in BattleTech games. Each weight class includes a variety of designs that showcase a ‘Mech’s options of firepower, armour, or speed, ensuring there’s no lack of ability in any category.

The Light class draws primarily from previous MechWarrior and MechCommander games. The venerable Urbanmech is sure to please fans of the adorable yet powerful trashcan, while the Panther, Locust, and Spider will make their first appearance in a tactical computer ‘Mech game. Of course, no BattleTech game would be complete without the inclusion of the noble and stalwart Commando, having been featured in every game since MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries. How many of us have taken our first steps in the twenty-five ton classic?

The workhorse class of Medium ‘Mechs appropriately has the largest roster. Old standbys such as the Centurion, Hunchback and Trebuchet form the core of the fifty ton class, while the Cicada brings up the lighter end of this diverse category. The Kintaro makes an appearance despite being relatively rare in the Inner Sphere during the time period for which the game is set, while the unseen Shadowhawk, Wolverine and Griffin round out the top end. The diverse and adaptable Blackjack also makes an appearance, and is sure to bring joy to any medium ‘Mech fan. Notably absent are the Clint and Whitworth, making the 40 ton range seem a little sparse with only the Cicada representing. Hopefully another 40 ton ‘Mech will make an appearance before the game’s release.

Now we branch into the heavy hitters in the Heavy class, where old meets new as classic designs found in many previous iterations of MechWarrior intermingle with some rarely seen gems. The Dragon, Quickdraw, Catapult and Jagermech can be found in nearly every MechWarrior game going back generations, while the rarely seen Cataphract will be House Liao’s contribution to the fray. The highly mobile Grasshopper will be sure to satisfy fans of the venerable laser boat, and the Orion gives an air of dignified sophistication for enthusiasts of BattleTech lore.

Finally we have the true beasts of the Assault class, and what BattleTech game would be complete without these power houses? We have ‘Mechs seen in many previous MechWarrior games such as the Zeus, Victor, Awesome, and Stalker, however the Banshee and King Crab provide some fresh blood to the class, having only previously been featured in MechWarrior Online. The Highlander and Battlemaster are lovely inclusions for lore buffs, and the indomitable Atlas rounds out the lot with its unmistakable death’s head grin.

Each weight category has a robust lineup of ‘Mechs sure to make any ‘Mech-head salivate in anticipation, but of course not every ‘Mech can make the cut. What ‘Mechs would you love to have included in the game? Let us know in the comments!